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Breast Wire Localization

By Gregory Grant, MD, FACS

Why do I need a "wire localization" procedure?

There are many ways to remove breast tissue with surgery. Sometimes this is done to obtain a diagnosis and sometimes it provides your treatment. Most patients diagnosed with a breast abnormality present WITHOUT a palpable lump. Mammograms and ultrasound are commonly used to identify "lesions" in the breast warranting a biopsy. The majority of biopsies performed on these lesions are done with some form of needle. The most common is a vacuum assisted needle which removes small portions of breast tissue which allows for a diagnosis to be made. A small marker clip is left behind to tag the spot of concern. If additional tissue needs to be removed for either treatment or clarity, a wire localization procedure is performed.

This procedure is done when the area of concern is non palpable. The wire functions as a guide to allow your surgeon to remove the area of the breast directly adjacent to the wire. This is also commonly called a lumpectomy. The wire or needle is placed through the area of concern prior to making an incision. Pictures of the specimen containing the wire are taken in the operating room to confirm accuracy. This procedure is used for both the diagnosis and treatment of of many breast disorders including cancer.

The wire localization procedure is frequently performed in the outpatient setting under sedation. Recovery only requires a few days. 


Topics and Subtopics: Cancer, Diagnostic Testing & Women's Health

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